Ship rescues 3 sailors stranded off Hawaii coast

Published On: Aug 11 2014 07:38:59 AM HST   Updated On: Aug 11 2014 02:27:01 PM HST

The Coast Guard is coordinating the rescue of a 42-foot sailboat caught in Hurricane Julio 414 miles northeast of Oahu.

The rescue operation began on Sunday.  A container ship crew rescued three people from the sailboat on Monday.

Click here to watch Coast Guard video of the sailboat.  The video has no audio.

Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Gene Maestas says the sailors were pulled aboard the container ship at about 8 a.m.  He says all three are safe and in good condition.

Maestas says the three people were sailing the 42-foot Walkabout from California to Hawaii when they got into trouble over the weekend.  They sent a message for help Sunday morning after the boat became disabled and took on water.

The Matson Inc. container ship Manukai reached them Sunday night but had to wait for conditions for improve before evacuating the stranded sailors.

The people rescued have been identified as  61-year-old Ben Nealy, 22-year-old Lee Nealy, and 22-year-old Mike Vanway.

The 42-foot sailboat enroute from Stockton, Calif., to Honolulu, was dismasted and flooding with three passengers aboard.

The 661-foot Matson container ship Manukai safely embarked the three passengers at 7:52 a.m. Monday.

The container ship successfully shot a line to the sailboat’s crew and pulled the sailboat and crew alongside the ship.  The passengers disembarked the sailboat and climbed a 30-foot ladder draped over the side of Manukai’s hull.

On scene conditions Monday morning were reported winds of 20 mph with 13-foot seas.

The Walkabout remains adrift.  The Coast Guard has issued a warning notifying mariners of the hazard to navigation.

Manukai rerouted 276 miles to assist with the rescue of Walkabout's crew.  The Manukai is expected to arrive in Honolulu at 5 a.m. Tuesday.

On Sunday, on scene conditions were reported as 92 to 115 mph winds with 30-foot-high seas.   One of the hatches has blown away and onboard bilge pumps are unable to keep up with the rate of flooding.  The vessel's life raft was also blown overboard.

At 7:15 a.m. Sunday, watchstanders at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received notification from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center in Texas that an alert message was received from Walkabout requesting Coast Guard assistance.

The Coast Guard diverted an airplane from the National Hurricane Center, Teal 76, from inside Hurricane Julio to locate the vessel and establish VHF radio communications.

At 10:49 a.m., Teal 76 reported Mayday calls being broadcast from Walkabout.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew launched from Air Station Barbers Point at 11:10 a.m. to deliver a life raft and relieve Teal 76.

After a two-hour transit, the Hercules crew arrived on scene and dropped dewatering equipment and life rafts to the Walkabout.  The Walkabout was unable to retrieve the equipment due to rough on-scene conditions.

The Hercules crew returned to Oahu due to fuel limitations.

A second Hercules airplane crew departed from Air Station Barbers Point at 5:15 p.m. enroute to the vessel’s location and arrived on scene at 7 p.m.

The Hercules crew will remain on scene until 661-foot Matson container ship Manukai arrives to the Walkabout's location.

The Coast Guard is receiving hourly position updates of the Walkabout from a Delorme device aboard the boat.


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